New Titans #0 (1994)

New Titans #0 (October, 1994)
“The Changing Order”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Penciller – Stephen J.B. Smith
Inks – Hector Collazo, Harry Candelario, & Keith Champagne
Production – Dave Bednar
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Chris Matthys
Assistant Editor – Keri Kowalski
Editor – Pat Garrahy
Cover Price: $1.95

I was planning to follow up with the Titans $ell-Out! story today, which continued through the next issue of Deathstroke the Terminator.  Now, having become “once bit, twice shy” about how nicely the Deathstroke book plays with others during a crossover during Total Chaos (which is to say, it does the least amount of “tying-in” possible), I decided to give it the ol’ “flip thru” first.

And, yup… $ell-Out! related scenes are only on like two pages.

Maybe we’ll get a running start and try tackling that some other day.

Today, however, we’re going to check out the launch of the “final” era of the New Titans… and a place where many’a fan seem to feel that the worm finally turns… it’s Zero Hour… and it’s a barely recognizable team.

I know there was a certain editor who Marv was so angry about that he refused to say his name during interviews… not sure whether or not that person’s name is in the above credits… buuuut, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Also, this is from a point that I’d already “noped” out of this volume… even in rereads, I never make it this far!  So, this is gonna be interesting!

Let’s do it.

We open in Sarge Steel’s shadowy office.  He’s talking to a fella, who’s most assuredly not Nightwing about the newest iteration of the Titans.  Steel guffaws when he sees their ages, f’r heavens sake… they’re just teen-agers!  Definitely-not-Dick tells him to settle down… because, the newbies can handle it.  Which takes us to… a warehouse where a pair of goofs named Coven and Slagg are interrogating a man on behalf of the “CrimeLord” (yeah, really).  Changeling makes his presence known… and, yeah… this is when he wouldn’t shift into animals, but… well, whatever the hell this is.
A fight is on.  Changeling expels a poisonous cloud… and Coven tosses some flash grenades in response.

We shift scenes to the shopping mall beneath the World Trade Center, where Titans Team-Lead, Arsenal and Titans newbie, Damage are fighting off a bunch of robotic terrorists.

We go through that bit where the new guy wants to impress the boss… and, at the same time, the boss is kinda riding him too hard (in order to prove that he’s in charge).  This leads to Damage overstepping, getting socked by a bot, and ultimately caught up under a bunch of rock and debris. This, of course, facilitates Arsenal saying something like “This is my first mission, and I’m gonna get my team killed!”  Really hacky/hokey stuff.

The bots grow tired of the tussle and head into the subway, where they plan to… well, stand on the tracks and kill hundreds of rush-hour travelers.  I mean, haven’t they suffered enough?  Oh, and the robo-baddies… they work for Crimelord too.

Back at the warehouse, Coven and Slagg stand over Gar’s prone, normal(ish) body.  Before they can act, however, New Titans (and the sole survivors of the Team Titans) Terra and Mirage arrive on the scene.  They make relatively short-work of the goofs, and rescue Changeling.

We jump ahead to somewhere unduh da sea… where Coven and Slagg report their failure to… why, it’s the man himself… Crimelord.  It looks like he’s a giant… but that might just be poor perspective.  Maybe he’s a hologram, who the hell knows?

As Miri, Tara, and Gar head home (which we only witness to see Gar brooding), we pop back over to under the World Trade Center… where another new Titan arrives on the scene… this is, Impulse!  And boy, does he look old.  It’s always a bit odd seeing the pre-Young Justice Bart… I mean, he looks like he’s of college age right here.  Anyhoo, he saves the day.

Then, Damage emerges from the rubble… and he’s brimming to the top with quaky power.  His body engorges… which tells his teammates that he’s about to blow.  Impulse grabs him and runs him off Manhattan so he could “pop” in peace.

Back at Titans Headquarters (or just wherever the hell they’re hanging out), the team reconnoiters… and we learn Damage might not understand what it means for one to “get their rocks off”.

They’re interrupted by a call from Sarge Steel, who summons them out to New Jersey… and it’s a brand-spankin’-new, state of the art, actual headquarters.  How nice.

While the Titans check out their new digs, we pop over to New York City Hall, where a man reporting that Deathstroke failed to assassinate the President (yeah…), is then assassinated himself!  By… the Crimelord people.

Back in Sarge Steel’s office, we see that… hey waitaminute, that fella from the beginning was Nightwing all along?!  I… I don’t know what’s real anymore.  Okay, okay… of course it was Nightwing all along.  We learn here that he’s decided to leave the Titans because an editor wanted him back in the Bat-Bo uh, I mean, he’s taking a “well-deserved vacation”.

We close out by popping into space and checking in with our soon-to-be newest Titan… Kyle Rayner?!

Yeah… not a lot to like here.  And it’s almost as though the creative team knew that… because so much of this feels “phoned in”.  Dialogue is tropey, storytelling is convenient, the art… it’s kinda weak… and the fact that we had three inkers might suggest that actually getting this book done and on shelves wasn’t anybody’s tippy-top priority.

As such… I’m struggling for things to say.

I guess we can talk about this “new look” Changeling.  His shapeshifting powers are… a fair amount, I dunno “darker” during this time.  It makes for some pretty gruesome images… but, not images I really care to pore over.  We could mention that Gar seems rather annoyed by being surrounded by these newbies.  Not sure if that’s just him maturing… or, something else.  Hell, maybe both, maybe neither!  I hope it’s not “maturity” though, because I want to believe that Marv would be a bit more subtle.

The team seems to report to Sarge Steel… which is to say, they report to the United States Government.  Hate that.  I hate that anytime a team does that.  I get the chills thinking about how many Marvel superhero books I’d cracked open in the past decade that all opened with frickin’ S.H.I.E.L.D.!  I’m never a fan of this sort of thing… and, something’s tellin’ me New Titans won’t be any different.

Overall… this wasn’t very good.  Actually, I think I’d go so far as to suggest that it was bad… and you probably shouldn’t read it.  Nobody at DC seemed to care… so why should we?

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